For the past two years, the annual content marketing surveys by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs have pointed to the importance of having and following a documented content marketing strategy. In both the 2014 and 2015 editions of the survey, a majority of B2B respondents whose company had a documented content strategy rated their content marketing efforts as highly effective (a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5), while only a small minority of respondents with a documented strategy rated their efforts as ineffective (a 1 or 2 on the five point scale).
A recent study by the CMO Council, in partnership with NetLine Corporation, contains some findings that seem to contradict the results in the CMI/MarketingProfs surveys. Lead Flow That Helps You Grow was based on a survey of 213 senior marketing leaders primarily located in North America.
In the CMO Council study, only 10% of respondents said they have no content marketing strategy. At the same time, however, only 12% of respondents described their content marketing program as a "high performance engine." More importantly, most of the respondents were not particularly happy with their ability to leverage content to generate high-quality sales leads. Only 15% of the respondents described their demand generation strategies as very or highly effective. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents rated their demand generation strategies as moderately effective, and 32% said they were somewhere in the middle.
The CMO Council also asked survey participants what was causing their content marketing programs to under-perform, and the following table shows the top factors identified by survey respondents.
These factors indicate that many of the respondents to the CMO Council survey do not, in reality, have a well-conceived and complete content marketing strategy. If you have a sound content strategy, it's not likely that you will be developing content that isn't tailored for specific audiences, or that your content isn't relevant for your target audience, or that you aren't leveraging effective distribution channels.
In an earlier post, I discussed seven high-level questions that your content marketing strategy must address. If your strategy includes thorough answers to those seven questions, most of the problems shown in the above table won't exist.
Today's business buyers are awash in content, and it takes high-quality content to be successful when content is so abundant and easily accessible. But to consistently create and deploy content that will enable you to achieve your marketing objectives, you need an effective content marketing strategy. So in essence, the quality of your strategy is just as important as the quality of your content.